Cingular Meets 2002 Commitment: Expands GSM/GPRS Network
Leading Wireless Provider Begins 3G Testing and Deployment
ATLANTA (December 17, 2002) - Cingular Wireless today announced that it has now deployed GSM (Global System for Mobile Communications) and GPRS (General Packet Radio Service) to more than 50 percent of potential subscribers nationwide. Since announcing that it would begin deploying its high-speed wireless data service across its nationwide network late last year, Cingular has engaged in a series of strategic initiatives to expand its reach, creatively add capacity and ready its network for third generation wireless data technology.
"Cingular is on budget and on schedule for our GSM network overlay - actually reaching over 50 percent of our covered subscribers in 2002. We have set an aggressive timetable for deploying next generation technology across our network and today's announcement demonstrates our ability to keep that commitment," said Ed Reynolds, President of Network Operations at Cingular. "Cingular will continue to be uncompromising in its determination to offer customers technology that will improve business productivity and bring consumers new services."
Cingular will continue deployment of GSM/GPRS in 2003. Ninety percent of the covered population and all major markets should be complete by the end of next year. The network overlay will be complete in all Cingular markets by mid-2004.
This year, Cingular has deployed GPRS in major markets including New York, California Connecticut, Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina, Kentucky, Ohio, Rhode Island, central Florida, coastal Georgia as well as in Detroit, Indianapolis, and Philadelphia.
As it deploys GSM, Cingular has also boosted its network capacity by installing Adaptive Multi-Rate (AMR) speech channels. AMR translates into higher spectral efficiency, allowing the company to carry more calls per base station. As a result, network capacity is expected to double and service quality will improve.
Network coverage and quality is maintained through Cingular's utilization of the 850 MHz spectrum for GSM - a first in the U.S.
3G Deployment Begins
Cingular is now also beginning to test a software upgrade for its 3G technology - called EDGE. As part of its current GSM deployment, radios in GSM overlay markets are already EDGE hardware capable. By the end of 2003, all of Cingular's major markets will be both hardware and software enabled for 3G. EDGE is expected to at least double GPRS data rates. The upgrade to EDGE puts in place packet data technology capable of transmitting data at up to peak rates of 470kbs - fast enough to support full-motion video. Users can expect average throughput speeds of 100kbs - 150kbs in a fully loaded environment.
Wide Variety of Handsets Available
Cingular offers a broad line-up of GSM and GPRS-capable handsets, giving customers plenty of choices. More than 20 different GSM handsets, from six different manufacturers are now available.
Cingular has six different handsets that operate on the 850 MHz/1900 MHz bands, with several more becoming available between now and the first quarter of 2003. Visit www.cingular.com for more details on availability and rate plans in your area.
About Cingular Wireless
Cingular Wireless, a joint venture between SBC Communications (NYSE - SBC) and BellSouth (NYSE - BLS), serves more than 22 million voice and data customers across the United States. A leader in mobile voice and data communications, Cingular is the only U.S. wireless carrier to offer Rollover, the wireless plan that lets customers keep their unused monthly minutes. Cingular provides cellular/PCS service in 43 of the top 50 markets nationwide, and provides corporate e-mail and other advanced data services through its GPRS and Mobitex packet data networks. Cingular offers customers advanced technologies in simple, cost-effective ways that permit them to tap the creative potential of wireless through their own self-expression. Details of the company are available at www.cingular.com.